Behind The Adventurer: Helena Mitchell
On our new series Behind The Adventurer, we interview those who inspire us to take to the open road. In celebration of Mother’s Day, this week I will be interviewing my mother Helena Mitchell. Helena runs our sales team, and you probably recognize her as the friendly voice on the other side of the telephone. If you haven’t met her yet, drop us a line. She would love to chat about why a Bowlus Road Chief would be perfect for you and always has special tips and tricks to offer to make your Road Chief adventures unique and special.
Let’s get started:
Geneva Long: What three words would you use to describe your travel philosophy?
Helena Mitchell: To travel thoughtfully. I’m always inspired and refreshed by land travel. What does that mean to me? I love to start with a plan. That means to me stopping when the mood strikes, eating well, sleeping soundly. And most importantly no rushing.
GL: How do you incorporate your travel philosophy into everyday life?
HM: I love travel journals and beautiful landscape photography online and on Instagram. They allow you to slip away for a few moments and dream of “where’s next?” Being organized so having a spot where I can tuck away a list, an interesting thought or note that later encourages what could be – I love. And I like keeping a record of those fabulous spots you never want to forget (but I do) and want to return to is nice, so John and I aren’t trying to reach back attempting to remember “where was that place, we got those amazing eggs?”.
I’m right now I’ve been playing with a digital travel journal options like Day One, and am interested in the video/photo power of Polarsteps. If someone reading has a recommendation, please let me know!
GL: How do you strike a balance between adventure and relaxation?
HM: Let’s be real; I’m at the age where bouldering is out of the question. So for me, adventure is relaxation. It might start with a fantastic hike in a State or National park. Then discovering a small town with an incredible coffee spot and then chat with some locals that are doing something that gets us inspired to later talk about new ideas and trends. I love that so much of our traveling provides conversation starters along with glue that keeps us together.
GL: One thing you can’t travel without?
HM: A Bowlus Road Chief. It’s true. Like many of our owners we’ve been fortunate to travel the world; however, I don’t find air travel as compelling as it once was. I love traveling America and Canada (and hopefully soon Mexico) in incredible comfort while discovering sweet finds. I enjoy having the food I enjoy, a bed that guarantees me a good night sleep, a good shower and a “place” for everything – truly brings me joy!
GL: Who is your go-to travel buddy?
HM: It previously was our sweet, dear Dotty girl. She was our Portuguese Water Dog who was the best company anyone could ever ask for. She passed last fall after 14 wonderful years together with a send out on a beach in Malibu surrounded by love and her favorite treat of bananas. So now it’s often just John and I. They say opposites attract and John hates a plan. So it’s always an interesting balance when we travel. It has taken years but now we usually agree at lunch we’ll decide where we will stop for the night (instead of at 8 PM) and we try never to drive past 4 PM so we can get in his walking miles to continue his journey with heart health. Traveling is about compromise and discovery and if your travel buddy is open to those two concepts you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time!
GL: Favorite snack on the road?
HM: I love, love, love to have an assortment of excellent cheese, fruit, nuts, vegetables along with hummus and crackers for a stop along the way.
GL: The soundtrack of your travels?
HM: Music connects me to the people in my life. I like it when my travel mate picks the tunes. So when I’m out with Geneva, it’s a reflection of her interests, and when I’m out with John, it’s his. When I’m alone, it can run from talk radio to CBC (if I want to catch the Canadian vibe) to the latest hits.
GL: How do you start planning your next trip?
HM: I’ve always got a handful in the hopper. I like being ready with a few possible agendas so if we can grab the time we go. So if you called and said let’s get going this afternoon, I’d be ready. That means that I’ll stock it with small luxuries like fresh Road Chief bed linens, a good book, hiking gear and a bottle of wine or my favorite tea and gluten-free cookies.
GL: What does a typical day of road tripping look like for you?
HM: I love having a cup of tea in bed to start the day. It makes me feel like I’m at the Four Seasons on wheels while I consider the day which usually includes a simple breakfast, a hike, a rest and then a fun activity for the afternoon. Dinner can be anything thing to something insanely good we prepare ourselves, to finding a fantastic a local restaurant. I’m a reformed night owl, so now I am enjoying going to bed early so I can catch the sunrise through our Road Chief’s “eyes.” That’s the definition of a wonderful day!
GL: Most epic to you, road trip route?
HM: I can rhyme off the greats, and they have been truly awe-inspiring. They took us on adventures and experiences I could have never imagined like the Dempster Highway and any trip along the coast of Canada and the USA. I love how magical moments can also happen when it’s least expected. I was driving with our son across the country when we stopped late one Friday night on Route 66 exhausted and hungry. We happened upon a burger stop with fantastic food and DJ playing country from his phone with a speaker. Just 30 people out for milkshakes joyfully two-stepping around the picnic tables. It’s what I love about traveling.
GL: Where is your happy place?
HM: It’s a Road Chief. When I’m on our adventures, I love how the Road Chief offers everything we need. So easy and so fun. I also love seeing how it has transformed our lives and the lives of our owners and future owners as they make their purchasing decision. It is truly a privilege when people share their hopes and dreams with you. How they choose to create their lives is truly inspiring.
GL: Next road trip you are dreaming of
HM: So many. Winter in Yosemite. Revisiting the National Park locations of photographers like the Kolb brothers, Ansel Adams and Stephen Shore to be inspired to shoot more photography even if it’s only on my phone. A way back tour of 1982 (it was an insane year). Top of my “dream” list is probably Ireland and Scotland in a Road Chief.
GL: If you stop at just one place, go here:
HM: I will somewhat embarrassingly share my secret and long obsession that started in 1994 for mini horses. There are mini horse farms you can visit, and they make my day! If you have one that’s your favorite, please let me know.
GL: One piece of advice you would share with travelers?
HM: Buy your Road Chief and start your adventures today! One thought I come back to lately almost daily is how time is rarely valued despite it being one of our most precious non-renewable resources. Until late, I always thought there was an endless supply. After all, it seemed I could create more simply by staying up later and multi-tasking more. But living that way never created more happiness with the small exception of occasionally getting ahead on a never-ending “to do” list. So lately I’ve been more focused on what can bring more happiness. Nothing I love more than helping people get on the path to more adventures and love the rewards of joy, fun and love it creates in their lives. For me, those feelings created in adventures are always “time best spent.”